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In this series, we are learning how different aspects of video games work by playing games that offer an easy introduction to this one concept. This is designed for people new to gaming and aims to identify games with the least barriers. In this entry, we are looking at Puzzle games.Puzzle video games are a broad genre, as there is something puzzling, or something to solve in most games. The games we specify here focus on a puzzle or conundrum as the main interactive mechanic. They test many problem-solving skills, logic, pattern recognition, sequence solving, spatial recognition, and word completion. Some puzzle games will focus on a traditional, self-contained, puzzle board with pieces to move. Other video games take this in more conceptual directions, offering puzzles that involve Action, Platforming, Shooting or even Role-Play relationships with other characters. In this way, the puzzle can be used to communicate frustration, difficulty or tension as well as offer a sense of control, understanding and ease in or Adventure games. Most Puzzle video games are, by their nature, Turn Based but they can also be integrated into more pressured and time-limited Action game experiences. This list includes 63 games from the last 33 years, with 1,393 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to play your first puzzle game.
Release Date: 02/11/2021
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks, Hand-Made and Pixels
Unpacking is a meditative puzzle game where you unpack belongings into a series of spaces, each representing a stage in life. You get to know the owner of the objects by their possessions and circumstances. To finish a level you need to work out where...
Release Date: 29/08/2019
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On
Wilmot's Warehouse is a game for people who like to organise things. You are in charge of a warehouse and must manage 100s of items of stock. Identical square boxes are labelled with rudimentary icons. On your own or with another player, you must...
Release Date: 20/12/2021
Out Now: Web
Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds
Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Text
Wordle is a daily puzzle game where you (and anyone else playing that day) try and guess the secret word. You get six guesses that must be real words. Each letter is then coloured to provide clues: green for the right letter in the right place, yellow...
Release Date: 01/08/2013, updated in 2020
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS3 and Switch
Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon
Ibb and Obb is a puzzle game where you run, jump, land on enemies and solve momentum puzzles. The novelty is that it's a game designed for cooperation. One player controls the green creature, Ibb, and the other controls the pink creature, Obb. The world...
Release Date: 21/03/2020, updated in 2021
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac and iOS
Components: 3D Third-Person
Spyder is a puzzle adventure where you play as Agent 8, a small 6-legged spider-robot that was designed by a British spy agency for attempting to stop an evil organization. You explore the world and can use your sticky legs to walk over any surface or...
Release Date: 22/06/2021, updated in 2021
Out Now: PC, Switch and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead and Cartoon
Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective is a traversal maze game where you guide Pierre from the bestselling children's books Pierre The Maze Detective to find a route through the city and recover the stolen Maze Stone. Play involves exploring the...
Release Date: 13/03/2019
Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch
Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels
Baba is You requires some lateral thinking. Each level is controlled by rules written on the screen, such as ‘Lava is Hot’, ‘Wall is Stop’ and ‘Flag is Move’. By moving the words around with your pixelated character, you subvert the...
Release Date: 10/12/2022
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS
Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds
JellyCar Worlds is a puzzle game about a car made of jelly traversing a squishy world. You use the physics properties of the car and the objects in the world to get from A to B. It's an action puzzle game that stands out for the joyous novelty of a...
Release Date: 15/08/2018, updated in 2018
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon
Donut County offers a simple style of play. You drag a hole around the screen; the more things you can make fall in, the bigger the hole gets. You start with bricks, road cones and bushes, but eventually you’re swallowing whole houses.
Release Date: 18/10/2019
Out Now: PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds
Components: 3D First-Person and Pixels
Return of the Obra Dinn is a narrative puzzle game where you play a shipping company agent assessing what happened on board a fictional East India Company ship where all the passengers have mysteriously died. Exploring the ship, you can revisit the...
Release Date: 17/10/2013
Out Now: iOS
Device 6 is a narrative puzzle where you piece together a mystery through unusual interactions with your device. As the story unfolds, you rotate your screen, hold it up to a mirror to read backwards text, and generally search for clues in unusual ways...
Release Date: 27/10/2020
Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Hand-Made
Carto is an adventure puzzle game that is unusual in letting you rearrange the map tiles while you are playing. This enables you to access new areas of the world previously impossible to get to. This can be as simple as redirecting a river out of your...
Release Date: 19/11/2019
Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC and iOS
Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds
Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made
Assemble With Care is a narrative puzzle game from the makers of Monument Valley and is a unique way to consider how physical objects become meaningful and hold our memories. You play a restorer who repairs people's favourite possessions: from family...
Release Date: 01/08/2022, updated in 2022
Out Now: Mac, PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S
Components: 2D Overhead and Hand-Made
A Little To The Left is a puzzle game where you tidy a house into meticulous order. Each puzzle presents everyday objects and some evidence of how they should be organised. The challenge is you have to deal with a mischievous cat who likes to make a mess.
Release Date: 03/10/2019
Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One
Untitled Goose game is a tongue-in-cheek puzzle game where you play a dastardly goose intent on ruining the day of the inhabitants of a sleepy English village. Play involves working out the right order of interactions and distractions to let you steal...
Release Date: 25/09/2020
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Web and iOS
Empty is a minimalist puzzle game that teaches the value of simplicity in life. You rotate and interact with different vignettes to line up items with the same background colour. As you do this they disappear and the scene slowly empties.
Release Date: 13/10/2016
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a brain-communication game where you’re confronted with a bomb on the screen that has to be defused, requiring a series of modules to be disarmed. The bomb defuser player can see and operate the bomb but the other...
Release Date: 03/03/2017
Out Now: Switch
Snipperclips is a game where you play a piece of paper that can be cut into different shapes. Through a series of puzzle levels, you adjust your shape by clipping and overlapping other players. Sometimes this is to match a shape, others, it is to catch...
Release Date: 17/05/2017
Out Now: Android, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Old Man's Journey is a game about memory and old age. You help a grandfather figure traverse the countryside by raising and lowering the landscape. Along the way, he visits places that evoke the story of his life: a wife, a child and a love of the sea.
Release Date: 14/11/2013, updated in 2017
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas (simply called Oceanhorn on iOS and Android) is an adventure game that brings Zelda-style exploration, battling and dungeon-solving to...
Release Date: 16/03/2007, updated in 2019
Out Now: DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Switch, Wii, Xbox One and iOS
Puzzle Quest 3 is the latest in a series of games that combine role-playing with tile-matching puzzles. Set in a fantasy world, you move around the map, encountering monsters and other enemies. When you go the battle are played out as tile puzzles where...
Release Date: 01/12/2018
Out Now: Android, PC, Switch and iOS
A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build is a puzzle game about being a monster and making snowmen. On each level, you must roll your snowballs to be the right size and then position them on each other to make a snowman.
Release Date: 03/04/2019
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS
Photographs - Puzzle Stories is a narrative puzzle game where you witness the lives and memories of five different characters. You investigate old photos for memories that advance the story and solve simple puzzles that reflect their lives. It stands...
Release Date: 06/09/2022, updated in 2022
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS
Components: 2D Overhead and Grid
Railbound is a track-bending puzzle game where you lay track, switch points, and use tunnels to get the carriages to the engine in the right order. Although it's the puzzles that keep you playing, there's also a real joy in connecting tracks and seeing...
Release Date: 02/11/2022, updated in 2022
Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds
The Past Within is a co-operative puzzle game where you solve a mystery by communicating with the past. You play the game with another person, either in the same room or elsewhere, by communicating what your different times and perspectives reveal.
Release Date: 06/10/2020
Out Now: Mac and iOS
All of You is a platform game where you can pause time and control the levels rather than the character. By rearranging the timing, order and orientation of the world you play in you can help the mother hen get her chicks back.
Release Date: 10/07/2020
Out Now: PC and Web
Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds
Six Cats Under is a cute point-and-click puzzle where you are a deceased cat-lady trying to rescue your herd of cats by directing them with your poltergeist powers. The challenge is that you can only move very small things, so have to get the cats...
Release Date: 26/01/2022
Components: 2D Side-On and Grid
Please, Touch The Artwork is a puzzle game that tells a story with real abstract paintings. Unconventionally it asks, what would happen if we did touch the artwork in museums? The answer is revealed over three stories each focusing on a different...
Release Date: 15/05/2018, updated in 2021
Splitter Critters is a puzzle game where you cut up the world to connect platforms and get to the exit. You split and rearrange each level so you can avoid deadly lasers and create floating swimming pools to guide alien critters back to their spaceship.
Release Date: 28/01/2022
Out Now: Mac, PC and Web
Otteretto is a puzzle game where you match blocks to make palindromes. Rather than the usual match-three format, instead you have to find patterns that mirror in the middle, like a palindrome but with colours/shapes rather than letters.
Release Date: 10/03/2022
Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks and Grid
The Last Cube is a puzzle platform game where you guide a cube through a series of 3D mazes to save the world from destruction. Because you have to get the right side of the cube on the right square to trigger abilities and progress, it creates a...
Release Date: 10/06/2022
Out Now: PC
Freshly Frosted is a donut topping puzzle. You must place topping machines and conveyor belts in the right order to create the right donuts. It takes the common conveyor puzzle challenge and adds not only a lovely theme but some intricate scenarios for...
Release Date: 24/05/2004, updated in 2024
Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, DS and Wii U
Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a series of puzzle games where you guide miniature Nintendo characters to the end of the level. The twist is that you must manipulate the level by adding and removing platforms to reach the goal. The exact interactions vary from...
Release Date: Coming soon
Coming Soon: Android and iOS
RocketPuzzle is a tile-based puzzle set in space. You push and hold blocks so their attached rockets can fire them into the matching coloured space stations. It's a small but tricky game with a retro aesthetic.
Release Date: 14/02/1991, updated in 2018
Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PSP and iOS
Lemmings is a series of puzzle games where you guide small (suicidal) creatures to the end of the levels. Unusually, you don't control when or how a character jumps and navigates the areas, but instead, you assign them actions that change the level to...
Release Date: 12/03/2021
Out Now: Mac and PC
Altered is a demanding-yet-meditative puzzle game where must get your character to the end of the level. It's unique because to get there, you change your physical characteristics (extending, elongating, splitting into two, or attaching yourself to...
Release Date: 23/10/2017
Out Now: Android, Web and iOS
Boo! is a Halloween-themed puzzle game where you decorate pumpkins using cauldrons of coloured paint. The twist is that to create each design, you need to cover up different parts of the pumpkin using an assortment of items. The challenge is to apply...
Release Date: 13/09/2023
Components: 2D Overhead and Blocks
Land Above Sea Below is a calm landscape-building puzzle game where you raise an island out of the sea to keep the flora and fauna above water. You work to increase your island’s area and height by placing tiles one after one.
Release Date: 17/11/2021, updated in 2023
Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks, Cartoon and Grid
Rob Riches is a puzzle game about a treasure hunter in search of precious artefacts. You carefully navigate a safe path through the small stages, pushing blocks, avoiding pitfalls, and collecting the coins to advance to the next stage. Like [link to...
Release Date: 19/03/2021
Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks and Weather
Sizeable is a puzzle game about manipulated objects in a series of beautiful tiny dioramas. You rotate to explore and pick up, move and resize objects. To complete a level you need to find all the hidden monoliths. It's a casual puzzle game that uses...